Tibetan Writer Missing Nine Years, Feared Dead

2017-02-24
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Missing Tibetan writer Tsawa Danyuk is shown here in an undated photo.
Missing Tibetan writer Tsawa Danyuk is shown here in an undated photo.
Photo sent by an RFA listener

Nine years after a controversial Tibetan writer vanished in Sichuan amid widespread protests against Chinese rule, family members now believe the missing man may be dead, Tibetan sources say.

Tsawa Danyuk, also called Lodroe Palden, disappeared in April 2008 after posting a notice on his web log saying he was being harassed by Chinese security officers, according to a recorded statement by a relative recently obtained by RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“After that last post, we never heard anything more from him or about him,” the speaker, a close family member, says.

“I think that we can now assume that he has departed this world,” he said.

A native of the Tsawagong region of Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Danyuk vanished in Dzoege (Ruo’ergai) county in Sichuan’s Ngaba (Aba) prefecture after writing his final message.

“Three years ago, in order to fulfill my desire to speak a few words on certain issues, I had to leave my parents, siblings, teachers, and even the land of my birth,” said Danyuk, whose writings on sensitive subjects had angered not only Chinese authorities but also members of the Tibetan Buddhist clergy.

“Now, as I wander in this unfamiliar land, military officers with modern weapons are stamping on my head,” he wrote.

“Am I really not allowed to remain alive on this planet?  I don’t understand this.”

Thorough search

After losing touch with Danyuk in 2008, close family members and a friend began to search for him, traveling to nearly 50 counties in Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, and the TAR, the speaker on the recording said.

“We even went to prisons and police stations without result,” he said.

“Finally, our search led us to a house near Dzoege monastery, where he had rented a room from an elderly Tibetan, and here we discovered some old clothes, utensils, a portable shortwave radio, and some books.”

Danyuk’s laptop computer, on which he had been writing a book on Tibetan history, was missing, though, he said.

Speaking to RFA from his home in Switzerland, a close friend of Danyuk’s who had kept in close touch with him over the years called the missing writer a man who “dared to stick his neck out when it comes to challenging dogma.”

“He was unmindful of the consequences that his open and critical thinking on politics and religion would bring about,” the source named Karma said.

Reported and translated by Dorjee Damdul for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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